Printing equipment advice needed

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by iambarefoot, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. iambarefoot

    iambarefoot TPF Noob!

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    I know this is cheating, but I haven't had much luck researching this stuff (probably because I have no developing/printing experience and don't know what questions to ask)... Would someone like to comment on this CL ad:

    This is a great find for the art student or professional or amateur photographer and anyone who uses film technology: A Beseler B&W enlarger (model 23 C series II 75 watt lamp); 2 easels, 35mm and 2¼ square neg holders; a Master Time-O-Light timer and Kodak Polycontrast filters number 1 through 4 in half step increments; GraLab developing timer with developing trays/rinse pans, developing tank, chemical container and 3 safelights.

    For someone who'd like to get into printing, what questions should I ask this seller - and would this be a good deal for $350?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    While I spent nearly a quarter century selling darkroom equipment, including Beseler englargers, I can't help you with pricing. I'm way too removed from the film world now.

    The big question to ask is "what lens or lenses are included". Since it includes carriers for two formats one would expect there to be two lenses, a 50mm for 35mm and a 75-80mm lens for 120. If they are the "Beslar" lenses commonly sold as a kit with the enlarger they aren't worth much. If they are premium lenses (Nikkors, Schneider Componons, Rodenstock Rodagons, ...), they could be worth half the asking price on their own.

    The 23C enlarger is a very good enlarger. The timers listed are also very good. The safelights are likely to be worthless as they age and old ones shouldn't be trusted to be "safe", at least without careful tests.
     
  3. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Dwig, ask what lenses come with the enlarger. I'd also ask what size easels, as well as what kind (speed, 2 blade, 4 blade). You should also find out how many developing trays there are and what size. Lastly, find out the age of the safe lights, as well as size and what color filters come with them. I would get that info from the seller first and then post back here before you make any offers, but all in all, I'd say it's a good deal.. even if the extra timer (keep the GraLab, sell the Time-O-Lite) and two extra safe lights are kinda "overkill"
     
  4. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It is going to depend on where your located.
    In some parts of country, people are giving away this equipment, or putting it out on the curb.

    the advice given is very good, but in my area $350 would be too high altho i am sure the buyer will be very happy.
    for instance recently someone gave the school were i teach some terrific equipment, looks barely used. one of the enlargers was a 23c, with cold light and condensor head, high end timer, lenses , all negative carriers for that enlarger and i am having trouble finding someone to give us 150 dollars.

    i would surely second getting specific details about the condition of easel ,types, etc.
     
  5. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And check your local schools to see which state sponsored idiot is giving this stuff away because he deems it archaic.
     
  6. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    I disagree. Keep both. I always found that auto-reset type of timer (e.g. Time-O-Lite Master) preferable as an enlarging exposure timer. The GraLab is an excellent timer for processing, but when used as an enlarging timer it must be manually set to the proper exposure time each time. Not overly difficult for single exposure printing but error prone when doing an edition of prints.

    Also, I prefer(ed) to do localized exposure control (aka Dodging & Burning in) by running the timer multiple times. This way I can burn in one area separately from another making the masking vastly less difficult and controlling the different times more feasible. I would set the timer for the basic exposure, run it once to expose the whole print, and then run it additional times to burn in each area that needed attitional exposure. This type of printing is more difficult with a manually reset timer like the GraLab. Also, when you figure your burnin times in units of the base exposure (e.g. one extra cycle for the sky plus one more for the edges of the sky, ...) they scale when you change to a different size print and a different base exposure without any additional calculations.
     
  7. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    christopher,

    if you mean the school is giving away the equipment , that is not what i meant.

    i teach at a non-profit school and people are always giving us "stuff", we have a very large lab with just about every known piece of equipment known to man.
    what we can't use, we give to our students or sell and put the money into the photography department funds for repairs, etc.
     
  8. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I misunderstood, Ann.

    And as to the GraLab. . .

    Yeah, it has to be manually set each time. But I have made a couple of sets of prints and if I am careful I have not missed yet. When I get me exposure on and figure what dodging/burning I will do, I make a list in order of exposure times on a white sheet of paper written in fat black Sharpie so I can see the steps and set the timer accordingly.

    I would keep the Gra-Lab. It's a great timer.
     
  9. iambarefoot

    iambarefoot TPF Noob!

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    Thanks very much for the advice - I'll follow up with the seller and see what happens - to be honest, I may be getting ahead of myself - I haven't learned to do my own developing yet, and I don't have a lot of room to set up enlarging equipment, but that's definitely the direction I want to go.
     
  10. iambarefoot

    iambarefoot TPF Noob!

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    Well, just so y'all know, the seller hasn't provided the details I asked for - seems the stuff is in storage and evidently was not the user of the equipment when it was in use.

    No matter - I'm sure I'm not ready to purchase this stuff now - I'll probably be taking a class in darkroom processes this fall, so I'll have no immediate need for my own equipment.
     
  11. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    good idea as taking the class should give you a better idea about what you like in terms of equipment.

    also, i would never buy anything with out seeing and checking it out for bellows leaks, etc.

    too bad your not in the atlanta area we (the school) have several really nice enlargers we don't have a room or need for. good make you a great deal.
     
  12. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Stupid me. I thought that was the point of forums.

    I sold a 45 B&W Beseler about 5-6 years ago with two lenses (one a 50mm for 35mm and the other 80mm lens for 120. I can't remember which was which but one was a Schneider Componon and the other a Nikkor) and 6 neg carriers (3 only showed the neg image and 3 were slightly enlarged by yours truly to show part of the non-exposed film around the image) for a grand total of $125.00.

    This was in the Washington DC area if it helps.

    I still have, somewhere, the 4x5 lens but I couldn't find it at the time.

    Believe me, I tried to get a lot more for that equipment but that was all I could get out of it. All that to say that the asking price on the equipment you're looking at seems a bit on the outrageous side even if the 23 is easier to fit in the average bathroom than a 45 is.

    As Dwig says, the ad doesn't mention what kind of lenses, if any, come with it. And it doesn't say what kind of easels: the kind that just grab a 1/4 inch around the paper were quite cheap but not the 4 bladed adjustable type.

    You just need to go look at the stuff and see what it is and in what condition it is. Then, come back here with the specs and cheat again.
     

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